Saturday, October 31, 2009

Life Sucks

In this darkly humorous graphic novel, which is often described as "Clerks with vampires," all the typical vampire stereotypes and cliches are turned upside down, with funny and surprising results. Dave is a vampire, but does he live in a sumptuous dwelling, surrounded by quietly lovely undead minions? Not a chance. He works at a convenience store in L.A., where he was turned into a vampire against his will by Lord Radu, a powerful vampire from the Old Country who owns the store. What's worse than working in a dead-end job for a boss you can't stand? Working in a dead-end job for a boss you can't stand for all eternity, that's what.

Dave was a vegetarian before he was turned, and he can't bring himself to hunt people for blood. So, because he subsists on stale, canned blood-bank blood, his powers are fairly weak compared to the other vampires, particularly his nemesis: a handsome, sociopathic surfer vampire named Wes. When Wes sees that Dave is interested in Rosa, a lovely goth girl (who is, ironically, into the guys who dress up as stereotypical, elegantly dressed vampires complete with fake fangs), Wes is determined to have her for himself. Dave hopes to stand a chance, but Rosa unfortunately seems determined to think of him as nothing more than a "good friend."

I thoroughly enjoyed this immensely entertaining graphic novel, which is targeted at teens but equally appealing to adults. It's funny and intelligent, with dark, bold artwork that perfectly suits the characters and storyline. The Los Angeles setting is skillfully depicted, and it's a very effective backdrop for the action, romance and humor of the story. Fans of the Scott Pilgrim books would likely enjoy this book as well. I fervently hope that we will presently be seeing more of Dave, his mellow mortal roommate, and the rest of the cast of Life Sucks.

Life Sucks by Jessica Abel, Gabe Soria and Warren Pleece (First Second, 2008)

Also reviewed at:
The Book Zombie: "The creativity used in putting together such a potluck of uniquely bizarre characters just reminds me so much of a Kevin Smith movie. Artwork, dialogue and plot were all fantastic as well, but it was the people that really made Life Sucks a winner for me."
Bookshelves of Doom: "It's well-written, funny and smart, it's easy to believe that Dave and Carl (his mortal roommate) have been friends forever, and the squabbling/ribbing between Dave and Carl and Jerome rings true."
The Written World: "I really like the cover, too. I find it fun. Once you read the book and understanding who all the characters are it is a fitting one. I recommend the book, but it is not something that I had to own."


  1. This was a fun book! I enjoyed it :)

  2. Looks like something I want to read!

  3. Can you review more of those new teeny-bopper vampire/supernatural stories that seem to be all the rage right now? I'm going to try to read "Deadly Little Secret" by Laurie Faria Stolarz soon.

  4. Great review! I loved this book and totally agree that seeing more of these characters would be awesome!

  5. This was fun, but a little too graphic for my taste when the heads went rolling. I decided not to buy it for middle school.

  6. Kailana - I'm glad you enjoyed it, too!

    Janicu - I hope you like it as much as I did!

    VA Gal - My next review, which I'm working on right now and hope to post today, is a YA supernatural - stay tuned!

    Joanne - I looked around to see if there were any rumors of a sequel, but I couldn't find anything. I'll keep checking on it, though.

    Ms. Yingling - Yes, I can see that this one wouldn't work so well for a middle school, even though it would probably be very popular. School librarianship is a lot more challenging that way than public libraries, although we have gotten more challenges this past year than we have in ages. Mostly on books for adults!


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